Nils' Graduate School Campaign

Nils’ Story

I’m writing this campaign for my family friend Nils.  His story and his character has touched my soul as it has touched so many others. I find him to be unique in many ways: unusually, kind, humble, generous, and always willing to go the extra mile. He is meticulous about keeping his word and moving through the world with dignity and grace. Nils is exceptionally brilliant, and indubitably so passionately and unflinchingly determined to realize his life-long objective:  teaching the history of the American Civil War/Reconstruction period.

 Nils just graduated several months ago from the University of California, Berkeley as a fifth year senior, receiving a B.A. in History and a minor in Theatre/Performing Arts.  His straight “A’s” academic achievement is particularly remarkable since Nils has significant challenges – a sensory integration disorder but more significantly, Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder which is characterized by  qualitative impairment in social interactions and restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities.  What all of this means is that Nils has to work a hundred times harder at everything he does. He has been through years and years of occupational, physical and speech therapy and the words “IEP” (Individual Education Plan) might as well have been his middle name from kindergarten through high school.

He is a person of numerous talents, counting among them playing piano, drawing, single and acting in community theatre.  The word “challenge” has become synonymous with the word “opportunity” for him and he continues to amaze everyone who knows him with his unseemingly unending accomplishments.  He believes in dreams coming true and in March of this year, some of them did: he was accepted to four graduate programs across the country for the M.A. in History program.  One offer however stood out in bold relief – that of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.   UNCG offers one of the best programs in the country in Civil War history and the city itself is the site of numerous battles and historical events.  It is the ideal place for birthing a Civil War historian and the place that has caught Nils’ heart.  The downside of all this however is that out-of-state tuition is approximately $21,000/year.  Nils’ mom is a single parent with her own disabilities and is unable to provide any real material assistance.  Additionally, this family is already capped out and overwhelmed with five years of university loans.

The purpose of this campaign is to raise money for relocation costs and tuition costs to UNC, Greensboro.

Nils' mother Renee Skudra has found relation with the line from a song by Oleta Adam’s, and it is so relevant here:

"I’d be nothing if I couldn’t sing my song. I have to sing my song.” 

You can hear that song in the video that I posted and may even be able to hear Nils singing it in the background.

Please help Nils to sing his song.  He has been traveling the road of knowing what it is that he was meant to do since the age of five years old when he first told him mother “Someday I will teach the history of the American Civil War.”  Numerous witnesses can attest to his saying that and at such a ripe young age.  And now his dream is on the brink of becoming real

Every contribution will be appreciated greatly and this family is sure to pay your kindness forward.

Thank you for reading this,
Campaign Organizer: Francesca Gallardo

Donations (0)

  • karl anderson 
    • $100 
    • 23 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 31 mos
  • Kiya Eshaghian 
    • $10 
    • 38 mos
  • Henry Maisler 
    • $50 
    • 39 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 39 mos


Nils Skudra 
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